Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Arizona Summit Pulls Plug On Fall Classes, Works On Teach-Out Plan For 2Ls & 3Ls

Arizona Summit Logo (2015), Law School Pulls Plug on Fall Classes Amid Accreditation Crisis:

The embattled Arizona Summit Law School won’t hold classes this fall as it fights for survival.

The American Bar Association revoked the school’s accreditation in June—a decision Arizona Summit has appealed—and it informed its dwindling student body in an email late last week that it will not open as scheduled later this month. The school did not say it was closing outright, however, and maintained that it was working toward a formal “teach-out” plan that would allow existing students to complete their studies.

Asked for comment Tuesday, the school issued a statement saying that its appeal to hold onto ABA accreditation is pending. “Arizona Summit has announced to its students that there will not be classes this fall, and that Summit is negotiating with another law school for a teach out,” the statement reads.

But the school’s email to students paints a dire picture of its prospects. “As [Arizona Summit] will not be offering classes in the fall, [Arizona Summit] will not offer any scholarships going forward to any [Arizona Summit] students,” the email reads. “The [Arizona Summit] Library is not available; however, the ASU law library is open and available to the public.”

If Arizona Summit never reopens, it will be the second of InfiLaw Corp.’s three for-profit law schools to close in the span of a year. The Charlotte School of Law closed last August after losing its federal student loan eligibility and its license to operate within North Carolina. InfiLaw’s third school, Florida Coastal School of Law, remains open.

Meanwhile, the nearby Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has agreed to accept Arizona Summit students who are within one semester of graduating as visitors this semester, said ASU assistant dean Thomas Williams. That arrangement will allow visiting students the ability to complete their legal studies and graduate with an Arizona Summit law degree, he said.

But ASU opted against admitting Arizona Summit students with fewer credits out of fear that they would be left high and dry if Arizona Summit closes shop. (Arizona Summit remains ABA accredited during the appeals process, and because a decision is not expected until October, it will be able to confer degrees in December even if its appeal is unsuccessful, according to Williams.)

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